With a staggering unemployment rate of 80%, a quarter of the population infected with HIV, a plummeting economy (GDP shrunk 7% last year), ubiquitous poverty (PPP of $2,300), and international disdain, it appeared that desperation might force Mugabe to stop pillaging the only productive residents he had left. As white farmers fled to a welcoming Mozambique, they hastily turned brush into an agricultural bounty. Zimbabwe tried to get them back as well as letting those who remained stick around.
But such overtures lasted only a few months. By June, the Zimbabwean government began forced 'purchases' of white-owned farmland at about a tenth of fair market value. Given a true inflation rate of over 1,000% (although officially it is said to be 267%), that 10% is cut down again by the same magnitude a year later. People who own real estate and the means of production suffer relatively little from rampant inflation, because as prices for labor and material increase so does the nominal value of the property and the price of the goods or services produced. The worst time to sell real assets is during an inflationary period, because the cash received quickly loses value. So Mugabe really ravaged the whites.
Imagine the government 'buying' your $200,000 house from you for $20,000. A year later, that $20,000 is really worth $2,000. Just like that you go from middle class to destitutely poor.
It's hard to see why any white farmers remain. Understandably a farmer does not want to leave the place he's lived for his entire life. He knows the terrain, the climate, his neighbors. Fleeing doesn't just require abandoning home, it also presents big economic hurdles, as Zimbabwe's economy as computed by its official exchange rate is only 11% of what it is if computed using purchasing power parity. Moving to the developed world essentially cuts his wealth down to a tenth of what it had been before he even starts 'rebuilding' elsewhere.
But southern Africa has become much worse since the end of its colonial days. Zimbabwe is poorer today than it was in 1980 when it gained independence following eight years of bloody civil war. Despite previously having been the breadbasket of Africa with the land and conditions that make an agronomist drool, and contemporarily having two-thirds of its workers employed in agriculture, the country is now a net importer of food. Whites, who make up less than 1% of Zimbabwe's population, have been the last refuge of productivity in the country, but they've now had to pay the price that market-dominant minorities so often do when political control falls into the hands of the majority.
Zimbabwe is about to deal the final blow to the whites it has plundered for decades:
A new law about to pass parliament will, in effect, give the regime power in the next 90 days to dispossess the last few hundred white farmers who still cling to their land.A couple of white families are trying to appeal the eviction notices they've already received. If they lose, the door is open for Mugabe to take everything:
A constitutional amendment passed last year declared every acre of land that has ever been listed for seizure — about 6,000 white-owned farms in total — the property of the state. That move prevented the owners from having any recourseThe families hope to show that the amendment does not override their right to due process. A white investor wonders why what has already been taken by the rapacious government isn't enough:
to the courts.
After the hearing, Daniel Nel, 44, who was a government-approved South African investor, asked: "I am a white African, so why must I go?" He said: "We are operating on about 20 per cent of the land we used to have, but we still produceBecause the white population has about a 35 point average IQ advantage over the rest of Zimbabwe's population. That's a gap wider than the one between Ashkenazi Jews and African Americans stateside. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe's wider population simply cannot compete economically with the white elite. So taking from them is the natural 'solution'. Putatively done for the benefit of the unprivileged black population, the result is a contraction of the economy by a full 40% since just the turn of the century.
many thousands of tonnes of crops, and do so with government loans. So why do they want us to go?"
There is an ecumenical lesson here about how crucial it is for the numerical majority to also remain the economic majority. When those controlling the economy become a minority, the majority will be moved to take from them. This sobering fact should inform the developed world's immigration policies.
Although the White Man's Burden has become a phrase of derision, we can help Zimbabweans and people all across the sub-Saharan. We can encourage economic transparency and discourage corruption through incentivizing good behavior via international loans and aid, and more importantly, NGOs and foreign governmental agencies should, to the extent that they want to help, devote themselves to distributing nutritional supplements, especially iodine, to as many children as possible. Raising the continent's average IQ ten points will do more for it than any number of wealth transfers, vaccinations, and scholarships for natives to study internationally.